Mandurah's artificial reef attracting opportunity for anglers

Mandurah's artificial reef is continuing to give local anglers the chance to snare a prized catch, with a recent report showing some positive signs for marine life inhabiting the offshore structure.

Released by Murdoch University as part of the Reef Vision Project, the milestone report showed 45 species of fish currently call the concrete structure home, with a further 17 living around the general area.

Those species range from bait fish like herring to bigger trophy catches such as king george whiting and silver trevally.

The reef also welcomed its first ever school of salmon migrating north last autumn, while increased sizes in species such as wrasse and squid have been encouraging signs of progress.

Mandurah's artificial reef is showing encouraging signs four years after deployment. Photo: Supplied.

Mandurah's artificial reef is showing encouraging signs four years after deployment. Photo: Supplied.

Consisting of 30 3x3m concrete modules, the structure was deployed nine kilometres off the shores of Mandurah in April 2016, easily accessible for boats leaving from the Mandurah Estuary mouth or the Dawesville Cut.

Now nearly four years on, Recfishwest research officer Steph Watts said the findings were positive for the Peel region's marine life.

"Most of what we're seeing is fairly encouraging," she said.

"There's quite a surprising amount of bait fish living off the reef now, which in turn is going to attract predators like dhufish, pink snapper and those bigger species, so in that perspective you can see it's performing as designed.

"We're also seeing wrasse grow in size to the point where the reach sexual maturity now, which is a good indicator to the quality of life these fish have.

"Most the feedback we've received from fishers in the area has been really positive."

Ms Watts said the aim for Mandurah's reef was to reach similar success to those deployed off the coasts of Bunbury and Dunsborough, which now house more than 80 different species since being constructed in 2013.

"We haven't quite seen the take off in Mandurah compared to some other areas, but there's several factors you have to take into account when assessing that, such as proximity to existing reefs and the species of fish that inhabit that certain area," she said.

"Basically the longer these artificial reefs are in the water, the more they're going to succeed as time goes on.

"For Mandurah, and specifically from a recreational fishing perspective, we'd eventually like to see a larger variety of fish in the area, and continued increased sizes."

Mandurah's local anglers and divers have been at the heart of the Reef Vision Project, supplying Murdoch University with footage and photos captured on the structure.

For more information on the reef visit recfishwest.org.au/news/mandurah-artificial-reef